I vacillate between wanting to live in a hip, urban environment like NYC or Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh is very hip now. Really!), or in the far-reaches of civilization- a country paradise with rolling hills, babbling brooks, and Amish neighbors who will help me build a barn for my horses, of which I will have several.
John wants to move to Kentucky, which is one of the last places in the U.S. I would choose to live (after South Dakota, Los Angeles, and Detroit). He is drawn to the state’s notable trifecta of sin and debauchery: bourbon, horse racing, and tobacco. (All to be enjoyed in moderation, of course, he protests.) I might consider Kentucky if I had my own racehorse. I would be both an excellent owner and jockey. I would name my horse Otis and we would rock the countryside.
I have considered the many drawbacks that come with country living. For instance, having lived within ten minutes of a Wegmans food market my entire life, I would have a hard time adjusting to shopping at a Grand Union or, even worse, a Super Walmart.
Second, there are the yokels to contend with. (No offense to my yokel readers.) Yokels are the ones who use their welfare checks to buy bourbon, tobacco, and horse bets, instead of spending them on trips to the dentist, which is what they really, really should be spending them on. I have a low tolerance for yokels.
And then there’s the garbage situation. My 87 year-old grandma has to drive her trash and recyclables to the dump every week. This does not appeal to me. A lot of people get around this hassle by burning their garbage in their expansive backyards.
This weekend, I ventured up to Chautauqua County for a lovely bachelorette party. (In case you were wondering, there was no bourbon, betting, or tobacco at this particular gathering.) I want to relay what country living has done to a sweet, dewy-faced newlywed named Cara.
Cara has been married for less than a year. At the gathering, Cara told of a recent marital conflict in her home.
She and her husband made the brave decision of adopting a puppy. Since they both work during the day, the puppy has been trained to do its business on newspaper. When she gets home from work, Cara takes care of the mess by simply scooping up the papers and throwing them in the kitchen trash, which is later transported to the backyard to be burned.
The conflict arose when her husband wondered why their kitchen smelled the way it did. When Cara explained that the “business” had been deposited into the kitchen trash, Cara’s husband became… upset.
Poor Cara is not to be blamed for believing that poop should be burned in the yard along with banana peels and cardboard boxes and newspapers in a bonfire behind her house. She came from a family that burned everything- television sets, the kitchen trash, pets that had bit the dust.
I informed Cara that John and I have a similar problem. Over the last couple of weeks- in moments I can only attribute to extreme laziness- John has taken to putting dirty diapers in our kitchen trash container. This annoys me to no end.
“What are you supposed to do with poopy diapers?” Cara asked.
The mothers in the group explained the wonder of the Diaper Genie. I submitted that a poopy diaper might go straight from the baby to the outdoor trash bin.
Cara contemplated this for a few seconds, and then asked, in all seriousness:
“Can you burn it?”
Ahhh… country living: nights where you listen to the sound of crickets intermingled with beautiful silence and the whinny of my horse, Otis; nights where you can gaze upon the wide open black sky that is sprinkled with shimmering stars; and, of course, nights where you savor the intoxicating smell of a good old-fashioned fecal fire.
Who needs Wegmans?